A lot of you bar fight purists out there believe the time-honored cue-stick-to-the-cranium method is the fastest, most efficient way to win a bar fight. As an advocate of the beer-mug-to-the-jaw technique, I must respectfully disagree.

With the cue stick method, it can take several whacks to convince your opponent he may want to channel his aggressions somewhere else. Then there is the issue of cue stick breakage. I have to admit I love the sound of a cue stick breaking over some jerk’s skull. It is a satisfying sound. The sound of something big happening – of something being accomplished. The problem is much of the braining power of the cue stick is lost when it breaks. Instead of making a pacifist out of your adversary, you tick him off even more so than he was when the fight started. Now your best hope to remain intact and unblemished is to fend him off using the sharp end of your cue stick.

I think the informed bar brawler would agree a thick handled beer mug greatly outweights the cue stick option as weaponry.

I can already hear you billiard ball throwing contingency chiming in. “You want to stop a fight fast,” you say. “Bounce a cue ball off someone’s skull at sixty miles an hour.”

I have to admit, you got me on this one. At least you kind of do. I agree that a well thrown pool ball has its place in bar fighting. No one can argue the benefits of clocking your opponent at a distance before he can get close enough to do you harm. The problem arises from the fact the average brawler doesn’t have the manual dexterity to throw a billiard ball accurately. It takes practice and most of us don’t encounter enough cue ball throwing scenarios to get any good at it. When the rare opportunity does arise, chances are you will miss your target. Then where does that leave you?

I’ll tell you where it leaves you. Usually damaged on the floor.

All things considered; I’ll stick with a beer mug.

A lot of people think cracking a guy across the jaw with a heavy beer mug is not fighting fair. That’s because a lot of people are right. Spend enough time around people prone to fighting and it becomes clear that fighting fair is the quickest, most efficient way to get your butt kicked.

Want to lose a fight? Fight fair.

Want a lot of bruises and contusions? Fight fair.

Don’t care about your dental work? Fight fair.

Years ago, I was in a bar in the small town of Algona, Iowa when an absolute knock down-drag out fight erupted. The bar was packed even though there was a sixty-below (no exaggeration, I promise) blizzard going on outside.

My friend, Tim, was chatting to a local girl when a local thug, without so much as a word, walked up and punched Tim. I hustled over there. The guy put his finger on my chest and told me that, if I was smart, I’d take my friend and leave. Them that know me know, if he was smart, he wouldn’t put his hand on me.

I punched him for all I was worth. Down he went. Next thing I know, the entire town of Algona, Iowa jumped out of their seats and came after me. At least, it seemed like the entire town.

I ran over to my table and picked up my beer mug. My only goal was to get a few shots in before they beat me down. Now here is the strange thing. Tim and I were from South Carolina. It happened by astronomical coincidence that a construction team from Sumter, South Carolina was in the bar, too. We had been talking earlier. The construction team jumped up and came running to help me.

It was a brawl to end all brawls.

I managed to give a few of the natives a good cracking with the mug. A few of them gave me a good cracking with their fists. I was feeling pretty good about myself when a hand fell on my shoulder from behind. I made to whirl around to brain my attacker, but the hand on my shoulder squeezed like a vice grip. I swear, I believe I felt the bones of my clavicle grate together. Another hand clamped around my right wrist and squeezed so tight I dropped the mug.

I was actually relieved to learn it was the bouncer. He dragged out of the fight like I was an infant. He forced me into a chair by the wall and told me not to move. I told him, “Yes, sir.” In a few seconds, he had Tim sitting next to me.

“Stay put,” he told us.

“Yes, sir,” we said.

The brawl raged on.

Next thing I know, two bar employees flung the front and back door open. A sixty below howling wind full and snow, ice and misery swept through the bar.

The fight ended instantly.

The guy and his friends who started the fight were literally thrown out. They weren’t even given the opportunity to get their coats. I assumed me and Tim were the next to be thrown out.

Didn’t happen.

To my shock, they let every member of the South Carolina contingency stay. They even let most of the natives stay. My only punishment was they replaced my beer mug with a Styrofoam cup and told me I was barred from using a mug for the rest of the night.

I didn’t mind. I was sitting right next to the cue sticks.